It’s a diagnosis that’s impossible to plan for. But when you or a loved one are diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia, you can plan for financial security. To help navigate the difficult task of Alzheimer’s financial planning, work with knowledgeable financial professionals to get your documents in order sooner than later.
Financial planning can provide for care, support family members, and take a burden off of caregivers. Take advantage of the time that is on your side to make smart, secure arrangements.
The Importance of Alzheimer’s Financial Planning
The importance of planning in these situations cannot be understated. Access to finances and protection of assets can make or break a family’s ability to care for a person with Alzheimer’s. Proper planning can protect against inappropriate spending, grant access to legal appointees, and ensure enough funding for the long run.
If you or the person diagnosed have been the breadwinner or financial manager, your planning should include ways for family to access funds as the disease progresses.
Planning for care should be a primary objective of Alzheimer’s financial planning. As care costs can increase over time and degree, you must plan for continued funding. If possible, evaluate government benefits you may qualify for, including veteran’s benefits. If you hold any insurance policies that cover long-term care, now is the time to include them in your financial plan.
How to Get Started
Get started by meeting with a financial professional who can evaluate your current financial situation and make plans for the coming years. An investment specialist can help you shore up your financial portfolio while also pointing out where you may be able to get funding from additional resources.
Combine your financial services with legal ones when you consult a lawyer. Together, they can ensure that you are meeting all legal requirements for executing your financial plans properly, such as setting up a power of attorney to ease financial transactions.
Begin sooner rather than later. Setting up an advanced directive to cover financial matters is a great first step.
As those suffering from Alzheimer’s may not be able to legally sign documents due to mental status, it is important to handle this kind of paperwork quickly. This can avoid delays during a serious situation and enable caregivers more options.
Power of Attorney, Guardians, and Trusts
With or without a serious diagnosis, it’s always a smart move to have a power of attorney or living trust set up. This permits a trusted family member or friend to access your finances and more if you are unable to. In the event a guardian is appointed, having already begun the process toward the power of attorney or living trust will make certain that your documents are set.
When it comes to financial accounts, turning over all access information as early as possible is essential. This will mean passwords, records, naming beneficiaries, and appointing a power of attorney or guardian to distribute the funds as needed.
A trusted family member or friend should also assist in setting up protections against scams and easy payment systems so that utilities, mortgages, etc. are automatically paid. Swapping from credit cards to reloadable giftcards administered by a guardian is a great way to keep independence while protecting financial assets.
What to Include in a Alzheimer’s Financial Plan
After an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, most will not expect to continue earning from work, but that does not mean income has to come to a grinding halt. When you work with a financial professional, they can help to maximize return on investment vehicles so that income remains steady.
Investments into stocks, real estate, and more can continue to earn while overseen by a power of attorney or guardian. When combined with pensions, government benefits, and insurance payments, investments can provide enough funds for the patient and the financial professional to make a plan that will support needs moving forward.
This is a good time to update estate plans, as well. Setting aside funds for end-of-life care and funeral plans, as well as directing your estate to beneficiaries can help clarify what remains to provide support over the coming years. Discuss options for any owned property, including reverse mortgages, as funding options.
Beginning Checklist & Key Tips
It can be overwhelming to consider such a broad, wide-ranging financial plan. As you begin the process of Alzheimer’s financial planning, there are some key tips to make sure you follow.
- Meet with your financial and legal representatives. You will need expert advice going forward to carefully manage your financial future.
- Protect current assets. This may mean limiting access to current assets until a financial plan can be finalized to prevent unwanted spending.
- Choose a power of attorney or learn more about guardians. A key point of your financial plan will be having someone you trust in charge of your finances when the time comes.
- Evaluate the funding options. You may be entitled to additional financial assistance from Medicare, veterans benefits and long-term care insurance.
- Make a plan for care costs. As likely the biggest financial challenge in the future, establishing a plan to account for treatment, home adaptations, caregiving, and potentially assisted living should be a cornerstone in your financial plan.
- Adjust estate planning accordingly. If estate planning is already underway, there may need to be some adjustments to cover long-term care. Revisit the will or living trust and see if previous bequeathments will still be affordable in light of this change.
Besides financial and legal professionals, there are many other resources that can assist in Alzheimer’s financial planning. Some of these include:
The Alzheimer’s Association Resource Finder alz.org/CRF
National Academy of Elder Law Attorneys naela.org
National Elder Fraud Hotline stopelderfraud.ovc.ojp.gov
Veterans Benefits va.gov
Supplemental Security Income (SSI) SSA.gov or alz.org/SSchecklist
If you or a loved one are facing an Alzheimer’s diagnosis, life may feel out of control. Take control of what you can when you work with a financial professional at Stableford Capital to begin your Alzheimer’s financial planning. Contact us online for a complimentary 15-minute consultation or call us at 480.493.2300.